Monday, June 27, 2016

Health business group opens its forum with state Medicaid officials after first denying Courier-Journal reporter access to it

A forum on Medicaid, featuring the officials who oversee it and are trying to change it, was made public after The Courier-Journal was first denied admittance to it.

The 90-minute forum is to be held Thursday morning in Louisville by the Health Enterprises Network, a business group. It "had been billed as an exclusive event for its members, about 1,300 people from 210 organizations or businesses," Deborah Yetter reports for The C-J.

"Admission was to be restricted to the members who purchased tickets to the event, $35 each, and the organization declined a reporter's request to attend. But after the Courier-Journal inquired about the event Monday, Doug Hogan, a spokesman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which oversees Medicaid in Kentucky, said media would be welcome."

Yetter notes that Gov. Matt Bevin said in announcing his plan for Medicaid changes last week that "as part of this administration's continuing commitment to transparency, we are taking every step to ensure the process is open and accessible to the public."

The speakers are to include Health Secretary Vickie Yates Glisson, Medicaid Commissioner Steve Miller, Adam Meier, Bevin's deputy chief of staff; and Mark Birdwhistell, a former health cabinet secretary and University of Kentucky health vice president who is Bevin's special adviser for Medicaid.

"The forum comes amid intense public interest over proposed changes to Medicaid, which covers nearly one-third of the state's residents and is a major source of payment to doctors, hospitals and other health providers," Yetter notes. More information about the forum is on the HEN website,

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